Double Blind, by Dan Alatorre

This book starts out bloody. A serial killer with a yearning to get his hands wet and dirty dispatches a truck driver with a gun and then a knife, leaving a gruesome crime scene for Tampa detectives Sergio and Carly. The reader experiences the kill from the killer’s point of view, and that continues through the book as we get inside his deranged head and listen to his internal struggles while he plans and executes his kills.  Meanwhile, the Tampa police are eager to get him off the streets and Sergio and Carly are leads on the case.  There is plenty of action and suspense, especially when the killer decides that Carly will be his next victim.

Meanwhile, the author gives us a meaty subplot that is really a completely separate story with wholly unrelated characters.  When a wealthy businessman and his daughter are both murdered, the serial killer is the presumed villain, but there is more to that story than obviously meets the eye, and a former cop turned PI named Johnny Tyree is in town and is a friend of the family, so he launches into an informal investigation, aided by another of the family’s daughters.  This subplot gets pretty complex and a few times it’s challenging to keep the two plots straight.  There are a few points of overlap, but they are mostly separate.  The family intrigue subplot is not as gripping as the main serial killer story, but it provides some interesting mysteries of its own and some fun characters.

There are a number of plot points and action sequence issues that unfortunately cause the reader to stop and wonder (not what you want). Why is a guy so large and intimidating and strong so hesitant with his kills — not feeling comfortable with just the knife and needing to shoot his defenseless victims first? The serial killer’s psychie is so out of control, and yet it doesn’t seem to fit with his day job. And why reveal the killer’s true identity when he did? And wasn’t the final take-down of the killer a little too easy? And how is a man shot twice still able to fight back so effectively? And little things, like a runner in sneakers can’t really kick up enough dirt to “spray the windshield” of the car chasing her. But, those are quibbles and subtle points that many readers won’t even notice.

The book is well written and well edited, which makes it a pleasure to read.  I would have preferred a little more focus on Sergio and Carly, but if you like police procedurals and don’t get squeamish at the description of the bloody crime scenes, you will certainly enjoy this book.  This is my first dip into the Dan Alatorre literary pool, and I’ll certainly be back for more.

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